Explore all causes of presenting problems, not just weight 4.
Recognize that many patients have tried to lose weight repeatedly 5.
Because societal messages often perpetuate beliefs that weight is under personal control, obese persons may be less likely to challenge stereotypes because they can attempt to escape stigma by losing weight.
Health professionals can make a difference by becoming aware of their own biases, developing empathy, and working to address the needs and concerns of obese patients. Schwartz MB, O’Neal H, Brownell KD, Blair S, Billington C.
Some specific strategies for health professionals are outlined below: 1. Weight-based discrimination in employment: Psychological and legal aspects. Weight bias among health professionals specializing in obesity.
Stigma also has implications for physical health in the context of avoidance of health care services due to bias in medical settings.
It is not known whether, or to what degree, stigma exacerbates poor self-care behaviors or contributes to additional complications and co-morbidities of obesity. Children who are overweight and obese are also targets of stigma and may be especially vulnerable to the consequences of bias.
The social consequences of being overweight and obese are serious and pervasive.